4.6   TRADITION

Though there is much common ground, faith and tradition are not necessarily correlated.   Faith is the conviction one has in his beliefs, while tradition is the outward representation of these beliefs.   Those who follow the traditions of a religion do not necessarily have great faith.   On the other hand, those of great spiritual faith almost always adhere to the traditions.   

Though not the heart of belief, tradition does represent an important aspect of religion.  It serves to connect the adherents to the past (reminding them of the roots and stability of their beliefs) as well as uniting the believers through communality.  Most belief systems contain an assortment of traditions that are briefly discussed below.

Many belief systems have a service of some kind to remind the adherents of the joys and obligations present in the path they have chosen.  These services are usually held at regular intervals—the most common of which is a weekly service.   These services often included speeches meant to inspire, prayers or meditation meant to bring the followers closer to the divine.   Additionally there is often some ceremonial gesture made to rededicate the adherents to the faith.    In many religions a collection is taken up to support the continuation of the faith.

The passing from childhood to adulthood is often commemorated by religious tradition.  These events center around a child's openly accepting the correctness of the religion's beliefs.  Only as adults are they able to make this conscious decision for themselves.   It is a welcoming of this new soul into the religious community and as a result is a time of great celebration.

Marriage is another area that falls under the auspices of religious tradition.  Here, a man and woman dedicate themselves to each other.  While it can often be overlooked, at the heart of the ceremony is the confirmation that both man and woman will continue along their life as one entity devoted to the religious beliefs they ascribe to.   

Crucial to a religious belief are the traditions that surround death.    These rituals help to ease the pain of loss and speed the soul onto its proper place in the afterlife.   Ironically, since psychopomps exclusively handle the process of freeing the soul from the flesh, these ceremonies are more for the living than for the dead.    

All religions must address in some form or other these three life-cycle events: acceptance, union, and death.   Beyond that, religious services and celebration vary greatly.


Start of Section Previous Page Top of Page Next Page Next Section